How Old is the Earth

Geology[ edit ] The regular order of the occurrence of fossils in rock layers was discovered around by William Smith. While digging the Somerset Coal Canal in southwest England, he found that fossils were always in the same order in the rock layers. As he continued his job as a surveyor , he found the same patterns across England. He also found that certain animals were in only certain layers and that they were in the same layers all across England. Due to that discovery, Smith was able to recognize the order that the rocks were formed. Sixteen years after his discovery, he published a geological map of England showing the rocks of different geologic time eras.

Everything Worth Knowing About … Scientific Dating Methods

Everything Worth Knowing About Scientific Dating Methods This dating scene is dead. The good dates are confirmed using at least two different methods, ideally involving multiple independent labs for each method to cross-check results. Sometimes only one method is possible, reducing the confidence researchers have in the results.

Argon is a noble gas. The noble gases are the six elements in Group 18 (VIIIA) of the periodic table. The periodic table is a chart that shows how the chemical elements are related to each other.

The Radiometric Dating Game Radiometric dating methods estimate the age of rocks using calculations based on the decay rates of radioactive elements such as uranium, strontium, and potassium. On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.

We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods. We are told that of all the radiometric dates that are measured, only a few percent are anomalous. This gives us the impression that all but a small percentage of the dates computed by radiometric methods agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found, and that all of these various methods almost always give ages that agree with each other to within a few percentage points.

Since there doesn’t seem to be any systematic error that could cause so many methods to agree with each other so often, it seems that there is no other rational conclusion than to accept these dates as accurate. However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old.

If these dates are correct, this calls the Biblical account of a recent creation of life into question. After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found.

I believe that there is a great need for this information to be made known, so I am making this article available in the hopes that it will enlighten others who are considering these questions. Even the creationist accounts that I have read do not adequately treat these issues. At the start, let me clarify that my main concern is not the age of the earth, the moon, or the solar system, but rather the age of life, that is, how long has life existed on earth. Many dating methods seem to give about the same ages on meteorites.

Thus radiometric dating methods appear to give evidence that the earth and meteorites are old, if one accepts the fact that decay rates have been constant.

The Kostenki – Borshevo, – region on the Don River

There are lots of ways to guesstimate ages, and geologists knew the earth was old a long time ago and I might add that they were mostly Christian creationist geologists. But they didn’t know how old. Radiometric dating actually allows the measurement of absolute ages, and so it is deadly to the argument that the earth cannot be more than 10, years old. Radiometric methods measure the time elapsed since the particular radiometric clock was reset.

Radiocarbon dating, which is probably best known in the general public, works only on things that were once alive and are now dead.

The real heart of the age-of-the-earth debate (if “debate” is the right word) is always radiometric dating. There are lots of ways to guesstimate ages, and geologists knew the earth was old a long time ago (and I might add that they were mostly Christian creationist geologists). But they didn’t know how etric dating actually allows the measurement of absolute ages, and so it is.

An inert blanket of gas prevents any chemicals in the operation from reacting with oxygen and other substances present in air. Argon is also used in making “neon” lamps and in lasers. Discovery and naming Argon was discovered in However, English scientist Henry Cavendish had predicted the existence of argon years earlier. When Cavendish removed oxygen and nitrogen from air, he found that a very small amount of gas remained. He guessed that another element was in the air, but he was unable to identify what it was.

When Ramsay repeated Cavendish’s experiments in the s, he, too, found a tiny amount of unidentified gas in the air. But Ramsay had an advantage over Cavendish:

Chronological dating

At the time that Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published, the earth was “scientifically” determined to be million years old. By , it was found to be 1. In , science firmly established that the earth was 3. Finally in , it was discovered that the earth is “really” 4. In these early studies the order of sedimentary rocks and structures were used to date geologic time periods and events in a relative way.

At first, the use of “key” diagnostic fossils was used to compare different areas of the geologic column.

RADIOMETRIC DATING. he question of the ages of the Earth and its rock formations and features has fascinated philosophers, theologians, and scientists for centuries, primarily because the answers put our lives in temporal perspective.

The isochron method Many radioactive dating methods are based on minute additions of daughter products to a rock or mineral in which a considerable amount of daughter-type isotopes already exists. These isotopes did not come from radioactive decay in the system but rather formed during the original creation of the elements. In this case, it is a big advantage to present the data in a form in which the abundance of both the parent and daughter isotopes are given with respect to the abundance of the initial background daughter.

The incremental additions of the daughter type can then be viewed in proportion to the abundance of parent atoms. In mathematical terms this is achieved as follows. This term, shown in Figure 1, is called the initial ratio. The slope is proportional to the geologic age of the system. In practice, the isochron approach has many inherent advantages.

When a single body of liquid rock crystallizes, parent and daughter elements may separate so that, once solid, the isotopic data would define a series of points, such as those shown as open circles designated R1, R2, R3 in Figure 1. With time each would then develop additional daughter abundances in proportion to the amount of parent present.

If a number of samples are analyzed and the results are shown to define a straight line within error, then a precise age is defined because this is only possible if each is a closed system and each has the same initial ratio and age.

How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments?

Rubidium—strontium method The radioactive decay of rubidium 87Rb to strontium 87Sr was the first widely used dating system that utilized the isochron method. Because rubidium is concentrated in crustal rocks, the continents have a much higher abundance of the daughter isotope strontium compared with the stable isotopes. A ratio for average continental crust of about 0. This difference may appear small, but, considering that modern instruments can make the determination to a few parts in 70, , it is quite significant.

Dissolved strontium in the oceans today has a value of 0. Thus, if well-dated, unaltered fossil shells containing strontium from ancient seawater are analyzed, changes in this ratio with time can be observed and applied in reverse to estimate the time when fossils of unknown age were deposited.

When it comes to determining the age of stuff scientists dig out of the ground, whether fossil or artifact, “there are good dates and bad dates and ugly dates,” says paleoanthropologist John Shea of .

Scientific dating has confirmed the long residence of Aboriginal people in Australia. A number of methods are used, all of which have their advantages, limitations and level of accuracy. Complex dating problems often use a variety of techniques and information to arrive at the best answer. Artefacts and other materials can be dated in relative terms by observing which layer of sediments they are found in. This applies the geological principle that under normal circumstances younger layers of sediment will be deposited on top of older layers.

This ‘law of superimposition’ works in the well-defined layers of the Willandra lunettes , but only dates objects as younger or older than adjacent layers. To determine the year age absolute age of an object, a number of chemical and radioactive techniques can be used. Four main methods have been used in Willandra archaeology. Radiocarbon dating This well known method was the first technique that became available for accurate dating of old materials.

It uses the fact that natural carbon contains a known ratio of ordinary carbon and the radioactive isotope carbon , and that this mix is reflected in carbon taken up by living organic materials such as wood, shells and bones.

Relative dating

An inert blanket of gas prevents any chemicals in the operation from reacting with oxygen and other substances present in air. Argon is also used in making “neon” lamps and in lasers. Discovery and naming Argon was discovered in

Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed. The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay.

Lion head in ivory, Kostenki 1. Despite being tiny, this sculpture is realistic and vivacious. Marl soft, chalky limestone , height 15 mm. Kunstkamera, St Petersburg Lion head. Ralph Frenken Source and text: A collection of stone tools from Kostenki 1. Note the classic Kostenki shouldered or tanged point on the extreme right of the middle row of the photo on the right – Don Photo: Vladimir Gorodnjanski Sculptures of mammoths, Kostenki 1.

The domed head and sloping back of an adult mammoth is quite distinctive. Marl soft, chalky limestone and red ochre, height left 28 mm, height right 37 mm. Cook Mammoth sculpture as in the right hand photograph above.

Recent Advances in Understanding the Geology of Diamonds

READ MORE Properties, occurrence, and uses Potassium metal is soft and white with a silvery lustre, has a low melting point , and is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Potassium imparts a lavender colour to a flame, and its vapour is green. Potash mine at Esterhazy, Sask. The waste liquors from certain saltworks may contain up to 40 grams per litre of potassium chloride and are used as a source of potassium.

K Most potassium is present in igneous rocks, shale, and sediment in minerals such as muscovite and orthoclase feldspar that are insoluble in water; this makes potassium difficult to obtain. Molten KCl is continuously fed into a packed distillation column while sodium vapour is passed up through the column.

Examines the last two decades’ advances in analyzing and understanding the formation of natural diamonds, and their relation to the earth’s formation.

The various dating techniques available to archaeologists by Michael G. Furthermore, when you consider that many archaeological sites will contain numerous types of artifacts that permit the use of multiple dating methodologies, a modern archaeologist can often employ cross-dating methodologies which can allow for extremely accurate dating as far back as 10, years in some regions. Natural Dating Techniques A modern archaeologist has almost half a dozen natural dating techniques that she can apply in the field that she can use to quickly determine an approximate date range, which, in the cases of varve analysis and dendrochronology, can often be used to decrease the date range estimate to a matter of just a few years.

One of the oldest natural dating techniques is geochronology, which is based on the principle of superposition — an object, or layer, on top must have been placed there at a later point in time. Once a geologist has determined the absolute age of a geological formation, the archaeologist can assign an indirect date to objects found in the formation. In archaeology, geochronology lays the foundations for the dating technique better known as stratigraphy that assesses the age of archaeological materials by their association with geological deposits or formations.

For example, the successive formation of post-Pleistocene shorelines at Cape Krusenstern Alaska provided J Louis Giddings with a means of ordering sites chronologically. A prime example of stratigraphy is varve analysis. A varve is a sedimentary bed, or a sequence of such beds, that are deposited in a body of still water in a year. By dividing the rate of sedimentation in terms of units per year by the number of units deposited following a geologic event, an archaeologist or geologist can roughly establish the age of an event in years.

The counting and correlation of varves has been used to measure the age of Pleistocene glacial deposits by way of the strata annually deposited in lakes by retreating glaciers.

ABSOLUTE DATING WITH POTASSIUM ARGON